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Ran

[Pre-ADwD Spoilers] Asha - Spoilers for ADwD

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In Jon's second spoiler chapter we see that Stannis liked the idea of taking DM because he'd be seen as fighting the Ironborn and it would help him gain credibility with the Northern Lords. What Theon did was seen by the Northmen as the lowest treachery, though, so making plans to aid Theon would be counter to what Stannis is trying to do. I wonder, since it appears that Stannis's forces have decimated Asha's, what bargaining position Asha would really have. Instead of seeing her as an ally, he may just see her as a bargaining token. Lady Glover's children are at Harlaw, and she will want them back. Helman Tallhart's heirs and other kin are captives at Torren's Square. Asha could be traded for either or both of those sets of captives.

Let's not overlook the possibility that the Boltons may have tried a similar tactic with Theon at Moat Cailin. Yes, he may be "out of the cage" already, maybe not exactly like Stego said, but in a place with something important to see.

Other things to think about up North:

Moat Cailin has fallen, Howland Reed has a much better chance of getting Robett Glover and Maege Mormont into the North. They won't have gotten far, but White Harbor isn't out of the realm of possibility. That may be one of the things that could change Wyman Manderly's mind about allying with the Boltons.

If Stannis is able to reunite Robett Glover with his wife and hand him DM it would be a huge win for him with the Northern people.

I think we'll see a POV from Jon in the mountains, it could be that he'll run into "The Liddle", whom Bran and Co. ran into on their way to the Wall. Jon may get a clue that Bran yet lives.

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Benjen,

Galbart, you mean, not Robett. Robett is probably already in the White Harbor vicinity, having been put on the ship from Duskendale.

Jon in the mountains ... hrm. Why? A recruiting drive for the Watch, perhaps? Could make sense, actually. Not sure it will happen, but it could be interesting if it does.

For my part, Asha thinking she needs something to get her back in the game as far as the Iron Islands goes, and Tristifer Botley discussing that ironman who missed the kingsmoot and so was still eligible to become king, strongly suggests that something more is going to come out of her running into Stannis than just being a hostage for him to trade back to the ironmen. He's the means by which she's going to get a hold of Theon, if Theon being freed of the Boltons is where the story is headed.

Ser Hippie, Pod,

It might be that you guys have beaten the horse into the ground now, maybe? I'd suggest taking a breather on remarking on one another's posts, in any case, as it really is just feeling like a lot of rehashing. :)

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No, time as in "Westeros time", not pagewise. Bolton has probably taken Moat Cailin and is marching north, so Stannis has a limited time to act.

I understand your meaning. He would be wise then to declare truce now with Asha and and whatever force she may have to aid him. Thus putting them to use immediately.

As I and others have posted, it's not as if the Northmen love Bolton either, so the potential is there. I can't think of one Northern house that has any real reason to stand on Bolton's side if given a reasonable alternative. Stannis' job, then, is to find a way to convince them that he is that other reasonable option, probably through winning a battle or two. I would post more but, honestly, that's been well covered by others much better than I could already.

At any rate, he will need a lord they will rally around, maybe a Karstark perhaps. Perhaps they may rally to him after a victory, or perhaps they will turn on him. They may not like Bolton, but to rally to Stannis they are all being asked to be the first to disavow thier gods. It would be easier and more probable with a prominent lord on his side. But you have a good point, he has to prioritize his efforts, however there is still a question as to which option is closer to fruition.

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Ran, we are rehashing, which is why I wanted to stop when Pad apparently agreed with me. All I want him to realize is that my criticisms of the ironborn/Stannis alliance don't mean I think it should be dropped, but rather that I think Stannis needs to use it as an ace up his sleeve rather than as a major part of his plan. Other than that, having to repost the same stuff over and over makes me almost wish I was working for once rather than posting :P

I have another question, since Torrhen's Square is on the brain...this could just be me being stupid for trusting wikipedia, but I'll have a go at it anyway.

In the section on the War of the Five Kings, Eddara Tallhart is stated as being the "heiress". Is this right, and does this refer to TS itself? I was under the impression that Brandon Tallhart is the heir (and also part Hornwood, is he not?).

--

I understand your meaning. He would be wise then to declare truce now with Asha and and whatever force she may have to aid him. Thus putting them to use immediately.
I agree - the problem is getting Theon out. I do like the idea of a commando raid on the Dreadfort, but that's probably just the fanboy in me talking.

At any rate, he will need a lord they will rally around, maybe a Karstark perhaps. Perhaps they may rally to him after a victory, or perhaps they will turn on him. They may not like Bolton, but to rally to Stannis they are all being asked to be the first to disavow thier gods. It would be easier and more probable with a prominent lord on his side. But you have a good point, he has to prioritize his efforts, however there is still a question as to which option is closer to fruition.

I'd forgotten the religious aspect, but I think Stannis can overcome that. First, he can follow Jon's advice and let them worship who they will; it seems he's doing that if the hill clans let him pass (at least for now). Also, and perhaps more importantly, Bolton himself states that the laws of hospitality are 'still sacred in the north' when he's talking to Jaime. Assuming he's not just exaggerating, I'd assume his and Ramsay's conduct probably aren't seen as conforming to the Old Gods.

I agree about needing a major Northern house to use as well; the Manderlys could also play a role here.

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Ser Hippie,

In the section on the War of the Five Kings, Eddara Tallhart is stated as being the "heiress". Is this right, and does this refer to TS itself? I was under the impression that Brandon Tallhart is the heir (and also part Hornwood, is he not?).

Brandon Tallhart is the son of Leobald, the brother of Helman the former Master/lord of Torren's Square. Eddara is the daughter of Helman so her claim should take precedence. Brandon is part Hornwood, yes.

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Horus,

I don't know as Stannis will require the northmen lords who follow him to abandon their gods in favor of R'hllor. He tells Jon he'll have to do this, but he's offering Jon legitimacy and rule of the North as his vassal. And he makes the wildlings do so, but there he's offering them something that they didn't have before: a place in the Seven Kingdoms. When he's not really offering people anything but what they already have as his loyal subjects, he doesn't seem to require a change of religion. As we see with the lords and knights who followed Stannis in ACoK (including those who followed him after Renly's death), they were not made to change their religion, though some did so thinking it'd gain them favor.

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Ser Hippie,

Brandon Tallhart is the son of Leobald, the brother of Helman the former Master/lord of TQ. Eddara is the daughter of Helman so her claim should take precedence. And, yes, Brandon is part Hornwood.

Ah, that makes sense. I was assuming that succession would follow in the same way it does almost every else (through males first). Thanks! :)

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Ser Hippie,

I'm glad you admitted you made a mistake with the quote. I was beginning to think this whole thread was some sort of weird joke at my expense. ;)

I'll try to be less patronising but its hard to avoid it when you are sure you are right about several of the discussion points. I can give you credit on some of your arguments (even if I still disagree with them) but others just don't make sense to me at all. I know you are suffering from something similar but lets see can we finish things up, because we were almost there for a while until I insisted on pointing out some of your old posts (which never does what you intend. I know that from experience).

Nowhere did I say that I thought he should give up on the ironborn; my position all along is that I think securing support from the North would be more likely to be helpful and that the ironborn route is a risky one.
People suggested that Stannis should forget some sort of alliance with Asha/Theon. You spend most of posts 83 and 86 recounting all the many reasons why this would be a bad idea. Now to give you your due, you don't actually say that Stannis shouldn't do this. The closest you get to it is the line "I don't see the necessity of allying with the ironborn". OTOH you don't say that "despite all these negatives I still think that Stannis should forge some sort of alliance". Even now you concentrate so much on the negatives, I have no idea why you think he should even consider it as a "side project".

I personally think that most people reading those earlier posts would think you are against the alliance but I will take you at your word, so that we can move on.

Btw, i'm not even sure if the Ironborn is a viable Plan B, considering how long it could take Theon/Asha to assert control there. But Stannis could be lucky (and maybe Dagmar has more men than we think).

Again, for the ironborn to be kept out of the picture in the North, all that needs to happen is for them to feel threatened enough to keep their forces at home. With the Iron Fleet gone, that doesn't require as much from the Reach.

More importantly, it doesn't require the Tyrells to attack the Iron Isles. The possibility that they could attack would be disincentive for the Ironborn to use what remains of its fleet. Not that Mace would care too much about what goes on in the North anyhow. And then once the Lannisters and Tyrells are luvvie-dovey again, they can move against the Ironborn.

And if you read my posts, you'll see the objection I have to the alliance is not that it is useless, but that the timing of getting support isn't particularly good for Stannis with Bolton marching...so I still don't understand why you objected to that in the first place.
So you are saying that I objected to the idea that Stannis wouldn't get support very quickly? (I admit to being a little confused here). All I thought I was saying was that Aeron opposes Euron (even while he hides).

Why should the Lannisters risk having him or some other Frey act against them if they don't have to?

This is one of the things that I can give you some credit. Yes, Jaime shouldn't needle the Freys. And if he does this incessantly for months and months, it could cause him trouble (probably not though since the Freys are in a pretty bad position). Yet Walder Frey is still mainly getting what he wants, so I think you are overplaying your hand here.

Genna Lannister and her husband are getting a 200 man garrison.
Yaaay. So we agree that there will be some Lannisters in the Riverlands. :) There probably is more but we may not have been told/or I have forgotten.

point is, Edmure is a danger that he wisely chooses to keep under his control (the same with Jeyne Westerling). With the garrison, he chooses to not question them

I don't believe he promised Edmure freedom. He did promise the garrison freedom and he kept his word. Edmure is the bigger threat. And if the garrison was such a big threat you wouldn't say "As far as he or most others are concerned, the war is over and the Lannisters have won".

And he did question them. Check the books again.

The Umbers are different because they have somebody dangerous to side with.

At the end of the day, Jaime hasn't the right to "openly oppose" Cersei. They call it treason. Although at the end of aFfC he has decided to take a more firm hand. Mainly because he has lost most of his feelings for her.

You then claimed that "no one" could see Cersei's implosion coming, to which I responded that it was the speed that was surprising, not the fact it happened.

But doesn't the time it takes her to implode depend on how bad a ruler she is? IMO everyone thought she was a better ruler than she turned out to be (which wouldn't be hard admittedly). You can't say it was just bad luck on her part.

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Sorry Ran, I had written most of my post, got delayed posting it and then saw your request. There is no way I was going to delete it after all that effort. :P

I think it would be fair for Ser Hippie to post one last time, if he wishes. I wouldn't reply. Although one thing Ser Hippie, a lot of the stuff you rehash I agree with. So you don't need to type it out again. If you think you need to repeat, just quote your prior post. Save you time. :)

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Galbart, you mean, not Robett. Robett is probably already in the White Harbor vicinity, having been put on the ship from Duskendale.

Oops, I got the Glover boys confused. I seem to excel at making myself look like an idiot on this board.

Jon in the mountains ... hrm. Why? A recruiting drive for the Watch, perhaps? Could make sense, actually. Not sure it will happen, but it could be interesting if it does.
For some reason Jon's spoilers made me think that Jon intended to go with Stannis. Just my imagination, I suppose.

For my part, Asha thinking she needs something to get her back in the game as far as the Iron Islands goes, and Tristifer Botley discussing that ironman who missed the kingsmoot and so was still eligible to become king, strongly suggests that something more is going to come out of her running into Stannis than just being a hostage for him to trade back to the ironmen. He's the means by which she's going to get a hold of Theon, if Theon being freed of the Boltons is where the story is headed.

I agree with that, and I feel the need to add a disclaimer here: I'm just trying to think this through for myself and fit what I'm learning from the new chapter into the whole picture. Thanks for your guidance and patience.

I don't think Stannis would back Theon just for the chance at having the Isles on his side. Not to mention that it would make his Northern friends a little mad if he allied with the Ironborn.

But if freeing Theon can cause Euron to take his ships back to the Isles, well, obviously that could go along way towards making Stannis some allies in the Reach. Which is where the manpower is. That would make it worthwhile for Stannis to put up with Theon, in my book anyway.

This may all be posted above somewhere, if so I'm sorry, but there's just too many posts at this point to go through it all with a fine tooth comb.

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A few points about the number of fighters Asha and Dagmer have in the north:

As we're told Asha had four ships and 200 men -- 50 men per ship -- at Deepwood before her battle with Stannis. It's not clear how many of those have survived. The fighting was supposed to have been bloody though, so Asha's casualties could have been high.

Theon and Dagmer had eight ships when they began to raid the Stony Shore while Asha had 30 ships. So they might have had 400 (8*50) for the former and 2,000 (30*50) men for the later. However, in ACoK it's said by Theon that Asha needed a thousand men to take Deepwood Motte. So we would have had 25 men per ship. Giving us only 200 (8*25) men for Theon. So Theon may have had 200-400 men.

Of those Theon lost men for six (of eight) ships which continued to raid the Stony Shore with Aeron. Which would have left 50-100 men for Theon and Dagmer, and 150-300 for Aeron.

There is also a reference to Asha having four or five times the men Theon/Dagmer have at this point. If Dagmer compared Asha's numbers to those Theon started with this would fit. However, at the point when Dagmer made the comparison Theon had already suggested that he and Dagmer should split from Aeron's force. This would put the numbers in doubt again. Even if Asha had as few as a thousand men, a fifth would still be 200 men for Theon and Dagmer, and not 50-100. It would also mean that Theon's eight ships had at least 80% the men which Asha's 30 ships had so I'm rejecting this conclusion for the moment.

Of the 50-100 men which Theon/Dagmer had left Theon took about 25-30 to Winterfell and lost all but perhaps his squire. This left 20-75 to Dagmer. As Dagmer's force was supposed to be the "great part" of their force it will likely have been at least twice as numerous as Theon's, meaning 50-75 men.

Dagmer will have lost some of them when Rodrik defeated him at Torrhen's Square. If he lost a third to a half of them he will have had 25-50 men left at this point. These men were led back to the Stony Shore by Dagmer. The next step is unclear. Did Dagmer take Torrhen's Square with these survivors or was he reinforced by some of the 150-300 men Aeron had?

In either case it would seem that Dagmer won't have more than a few hundred men at most, and perhaps not even that but less than a hundred.

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Benjen,

or some reason Jon's spoilers made me think that Jon intended to go with Stannis. Just my imagination, I suppose.
I don't know. Could happen, but I do recall that it's mentioned in the reports that Jon was very aware that even his advice could be construed as picking sides and assisting Stannis, and that he was struggling to provide his advice because of his vows. I'm doubtful he'd go so far as to go on campaign with him.

Markus,

t would also mean that Theon's eight ships had at least 80% the men which Asha's 30 ships had so I'm rejecting this conclusion for the moment.

When working out the numbers, one has to remember that there could be great variation in ship compliments. It's entirely possible that Foamdrinker and Sea Bitch accounted for 200 men (Theon even says there was deck enough for 100 men on Sea Bitch), and the other six ships accounted for another 200 (or whatever figure) between them.

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Ran,

When working out the numbers, one has to remember that there could be great variation in ship compliments. It's entirely possible that Foamdrinker and Sea Bitch accounted for 200 men (Theon even says there was deck enough for 100 men on Sea Bitch), and the other six ships accounted for another 200 (or whatever figure) between them.

I'd actually given this a thought in general but didn't follow up on it, partly because I'd missed the reference to Sea Bitch being so big. This might explain the situation. Theon, Dagmer and Aeron might all have had much bigger ships than the other five captains.

Then Dagmer's reference to having a fourth or a fifth of Asha's strength can make sense. If Asha had about a thousand men Theon and Dagmer would have had 200-250 men between them. After Theon took his 25-30 men to Winterfell Dagmer would have had 170-225. Losing perhaps a third to a half at Torrhen's Square against Rodrik leaves him with 85-150 men. I don't think he would have been in need of reinforcements to take Torrhen's Square in this case. So Dagmer probably holds it with these numbers.

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Ran,

I'd actually given this a thought in general but didn't follow up on it, partly because I'd missed the reference to Sea Bitch being so big. This might explain the situation. Theon, Dagmer and Aeron might all have had much bigger ships than the other five captains.

Then Dagmer's reference to having a fourth or a fifth of Asha's strength can make sense. If Asha had about a thousand men Theon and Dagmer would have had 200-250 men between them. After Theon took his 25-30 men to Winterfell Dagmer would have had 170-225. Losing perhaps a third to a half at Torrhen's Square against Rodrik leaves him with 85-150 men. I don't think he would have been in need of reinforcements to take Torrhen's Square in this case. So Dagmer probably holds it with these numbers.

I thought Theon could stick roughly 150 men on his ship. 50 at the oars and a 100 on deck. Also, was Sea bitch really that big though? My memory is a little fuzzy but don't Theon muse on his ship being rather avarge in seize and think that she can't rival the seize of Balon's ships and the ships of the Iron fleet?

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Theon thinks:

She was not so large as Lord Balon's own Great Kraken or his uncle Victarion's Iron Victory, but she looked swift and sweet, even sitting in her wooden cradle on the strand; lean black hull a hundred feet long, a single tall mast, fifty long oars, deck enough for a hundred men . . . and at the prow, the great iron ram in the shape of an arrowhead.

He means 100 men can fit on the ship, not 50 oarsmen and 100 other men.

On a longship, the "deck" is basically the same as where the oarsmen go -- it doesn't have multiple decks. Many longships didn't even have specific rowing benches -- chests were moved into place for oarsmen to sit on.

Longships generally carried a minimum compliment capable of manning the oars and maybe two-four men more, but they generally had room for twice that number so that they could rotate shifts a bit (and it was more useful for military purposes). Theon's ship, with 50 oars, room for 100 men, and 100 foot length is similar to the Skuldelev 2 longship which was a "true" longship and was until 1997 the longest Viking longship ever found (it was also towards the upper end of the median range of levy ships in such historical documentation we have).

I think we can assume that Theon's ship is on the large side for a traditional ironborn longship, especially as he doesn't complain that Black Wind (also identified as a longship in ACoK) is larger than his Sea Bitch

That said, it is a longship, not one of the hybrid galleys that Euron, Balon, and Victarion's vessels are.

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I will repeat, there is no immediate substantial aid available to use against Bolton. How do you think that without Jon to use to rally the Northern Lords, he is that much closer with them than with the Ironmen. If he's thinking "No I'd better focus soley with rallying the Northern Lords because I'm really close with them," he's fooling himself. Either way, its going to take time. He might as well make a small effort in the Isles direction for contingencies sake.

Well that really depends what happens in White Harbour: If Davos isn't killed what saved him, I'd say it's likely that a sertain Stark child has shown up there whom Davos has agreed restore back to Winterfell for the Manderly manpower, and if Robett still there hearing how Stannis has saved his lands and family there's another ally right there who can link up with his brother's 200 men (likely Maege will change her daughter's opinion and add her 200 + whatever's back on the island) whatever Reed can offer and having that Stark with him will be a huge + for Stannis with the rest of the houses. Someone mentioned earlier that this might upset the Karstark's to withdraw their forces but they were allied with Stannis before he even offered Winterfell since he planed to have Jon run the show with them already under his banner so it shouldn't be that big an issue.

I agree with most of this, but why kill Theon? He was never a part of the Kingsmoot, hence his ability to contend Euron's rulership. In addition he also had humbler plans for the Ironborn.

See inorder for this deal to work Stannis has to endorse Theon as a King which woln't happen he's not going to comprimise on that line perhaps if its just for Theon to regain his inheiritance of the Isles as Lord that be a winning comprimise but really then he can just use Asha. And Stannis likely woln't jump at it till things have changed. Using Asha as a hostage makes more sence right now since she can't offer anything as an ally and Stannis doesn't have allies only subjects.

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Eddara's situation is actually worse one might say. She is supposedly the legitimate heir to the Tallhart lands whereas Lady Hornwood -- being a Manderly by birth -- shouldn't really have had much of a claim to the Hornwood lands to begin with, and Alys Karstark has a living brother with a better claim.

So it wouldn't be much of a surprise if whoever gains control of Eddara were to give her hand to one of his own men.

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Another thought which came to me is that Asha provides Stannis with an escape route. It's very much uncertain if Stannis will be able to defeat Bolton. At the moment Stannis simply doesn't have the men to be given good odds. While this may change, there doesn't seem to be much time left for it to change either. Whatever benefits a potential alliance with Asha and/or Theon might bring him, they won't help him much if Bolton is some weeks or days away from finishing him. So it's quite imaginable that Stannis is forced to give battle to Bolton although he doesn't have the numbers he would need and loses, but escapes with his life.

If he were to make for the Wall one may be sceptical if this would save him when Bolton pursues him. Stannis has left only a hundred men and the Nightfort is supposedly not very defensible against attacks from the south. Jon doesn't seem to have the numbers he would need to defeat Bolton even if he were inclined to do so. So either the wildlings join Stannis in force against Bolton at this point -- which would not only bolster his numbers significantly but would also surprise the Boltons -- or Stannis is finished. Or the wildlings fight Bolton but don't join Stannis which might leave Stannis alive but powerless.

The alternative which Asha may provide are her four ships which may allow Stannis and some of his men to escape from the Boltons. Then Stannis could still try to forge an alliance with the ironborn after he was defeated in the north.

Interestingly, Asha may tell him of Dany and her dragons. If Stannis is down to a few hundred or even a few dozen men, possibly with Davos dead, he might even consider either informing Dany of the threat beyond the Wall and joining her, or taking her dragons as his next step. Not to forget that Dany's blood might appear attractive if he were still believing he is prophesied to wake a dragon of his own with blood magic.

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